What it's about?
The Room is a one act play by Harold Pinter about the Hudds, an aging couple who live in a small room in a big house.
What'd I experience?
It is Friday, the day before Halloween. Samiha stands outside of a dormitory talking to a dear friend about handwritten letters of affection. It is 7pm and she runs off to the subway station to catch a train to The Performing Garage. Despite scurrying to the theatre to arrive by 7:30, Samiha arrives at 7:38. The show has not yet started. She gets her playbill and seat number and goes to Row G. A whole row of people stand up to let her get to her seat. She is about to sit down next to a very handsome man when she realizes that she is on the wrong side of the aisle.
The Room at The Performing Garage had everything I thought I liked in a play:
- Abrupt violence
- Experimental, nontraditional style
- Short run time
Yet, as I look back at it, my feelings are totally ambivalent. From the overhead narration of scenes to the screechy singing of lines, nothing about the play really made me enjoy it. If anything, it made me very uncomfortable. As I watched Mrs. Hudd have a conversation with silent Mr. Hudd, I felt sorry for the woman who has to live with an apathetic man. I cringed when a new character was introduced only as "Blind Negro." And when, in the final scene, Mr. Hudd shoved this character to the floor and kicked him to stillness, my thoughts echoed those of the man next to me who audibly whispered, "what the fuck?"
With a man lying senseless on the ground, the theatre goes dark and the play comes to an end. People start standing up and putting their coats on as Samiha and the man next to her stay seated with confused looks on their faces. He asks her if she had read the play before. She hadn't. She asks him he had read it. He hadn't. They sit together for a minute as strangers sometimes do when they share a confounding experience. They stand up and exit the theatre together. She stands on a nearby step as the man puts on a plastic viking helmet and tells her, ''adios." Feeling the frigid fall air on her face, Samiha realizes that sometimes all one can really ask of life - or a play, for that matter - is something unexpected.